Port of Savannah is undergoing expansion with an estimated investment of $5bn. Credit: Georgia Ports Authority.
The first of four new Neo-Panamax cranes commenced operations at the port in March 2018. Credit: Georgia Ports Authority / Stephen B. Morton.
The expansion will increase the port’s annual container handling capacity to 11 million TEUs. Credit: GPA Photo / Stephen B. Morton.
The port handled 4.44 million TEUs in fiscal year 2020. Credit: Stephen B. Morton / Georgia Ports Authority.
Port of Savannah has two deepwater terminals. Credit: Jeremy Polston / Georgia Ports Authority.

The Port of Savannah in Georgia, US, is being expanded by the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) to increase its annual container handling capacity to 11 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

The Army Corps of Engineers is supporting the expansion project. Work on the deepening of the outer harbour was completed in 2018.

The first of four new Neo-Panamax cranes, each capable of lifting 66t to a height of 152ft above the dock, became operational in March 2018.

In February 2019, GPA unveiled a new programme, known as Big Berth / Big Ship programme, to be able to accommodate six 14,000TEU vessels at the same time by 2024. It plans to add 21 new Neo-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes as part of the programme.

The port handled 4.44 million TEUs in fiscal year 2020. The total tonnes crossing all GPA docks increased to 37.77 million and container tonnes reached 33.5 million during the period.

Ongoing infrastructure improvements at Savannah port

The Savannah harbour expansion project involves deepening the river to 47ft at low tide by late-2021. The port is also expanding the container handling capabilities at Ocean Terminal to serve smaller ships.

Improvements to the berths at Garden City Terminal are expected to be completed by the end of 2020. Berth one at Garden City Terminal is also being straightened to allow it to dock four more than 15,000TEU vessels and three additional vessels simultaneously by the end of 2022.

The expansion plans also include the installation of six additional ship-to-shore cranes at Garden City Terminal, increasing the total number of cranes to 36. Renovations at Ocean Terminal will include the addition of a new truck gate, upgraded container yards as well as rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes for container operations.

Other developments near Port of Savannah

New economic developments near the port include a 1.2 million square feet FedEx facility, 800,000ft² Hooker Furniture distribution facility, World Shipping logistics facility, and Huali Floors manufacturing facility. Multiple private companies are expected to use the Port of Savannah as the main export hub in Georgia. A new container port is being built on Hutchinson Island across the Savannah River channel. Spanning 200 acres, it will have the capacity to handle 2.5 million TEUs of cargo a year.

Mason Mega Rail Terminal

Mason Mega Rail Terminal is expected to increase the port’s annual rail lift capacity to one million container lifts. The project will add 97,000ft of track at Garden City Terminal.

The Garden City Terminal will have a total of 180,000ft of rail, 18 working tracks and the capability of loading 10,000ft-long trains upon completion of the Mega Rail project.

The ground-breaking ceremony for the $126.7m Mason Mega Rail Terminal was held in March 2018. GPA approved funding worth $92m for the rail terminal in September 2018 and 75% of the project was completed by November 2020.

Port of Savannah existing details

The Port of Savannah comprises two modern, deepwater facilities, including Garden City and Ocean terminals.

Ocean Terminal is a dedicated breakbulk and roll-on / roll-off facility spread across more than 200.4 acres area. It offers more than 1.4 million square feet of covered storage.

The port is well connected to the road network, offering direct interstate connections. The point where interstates 16 and 95 meet is approximately 8.04km away from the port.

Contractors involved

GPA ordered 20 RTG cranes for the port in April 2019. It placed another order with Konecranes for the delivery of two eco-efficient Konecranes Gottwald Model 6 Mobile Harbor Cranes in December 2019. Moffatt & Nichol won a design contract for the terminal on Hutchinson Island.

Norfolk Dredging was contracted to perform dredging works for the deepening of Savannah port’s inner harbour. Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company worked on the deepening of the outer harbour.